Middle School Years

The Middle School Years

Early adolescents are slowly moving from seeking and meeting adult expectations to seeking and meeting their own expectations. As they move from the dependence of childhood to the independence that is expected of productive adults in our society, the new rights and responsibilities bring tension and disagreement between the students and the adults around them.

The most notable characteristic of the early adolescent is the physical growth that accompanies puberty. Sexual identity becomes part of the complex sorting out of childhood and adult expectations as they develop their new self-identity. Students at this age are usually focused on self throughout this period and tend to be introspective and very critical of each phase of their own development.

Friendships become very important and tend to be developed through shared activities. These groupings of students then phase into the stage of shared identity – the seeking out of those most like their own self-perception. Students at this age are establishing the behaviors that will probably direct their actions for the next several years. It is important during this critical period to assist students in the formation of positive self-concepts, the development of self-responsibility in all aspects of their behavior and an awareness of sex-role stereotyping issues. Students also need to further develop their awareness of work and how their interests and abilities help them to make academic and career choices.